Dr. Sunil - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Sunil

Are Snow Cones Bad For You?



Short answer

Traditional snow cones topped with store-bought or commercial syrups contain zero nutritional value, are filled with sugar, and may have unwanted additives. Snow cones should only be consumed on special occasions.



Long answer

Generally speaking, snow cones are just empty calories. Consisting of mostly ice with a bit of sugary syrup on top, a normal snow cone has no nutritional value whatsoever. Nutrients can be added, however, by making your own homemade versions.

The calorie count depends completely on if you get syrup with or without sugar. One ounce of syrup with sugar will bring you about 90 calories, whereas sugar-free syrup has just 3.5 calories per ounce. If you are having syrup with the sugar, then just two ounces will contain 41 grams of sugar. This is quite a bit - if you have diabetes or are hyperglycemic, then you will probably want to avoid eating a sugar-laced snow cone.

The syrups can be made from just about anything imaginable, so giving hard and fast rules as to how good or bad a snow cone is for you is nigh impossible. Besides sugar, some syrups may contain high fructose corn syrup and sodium benzoate (as a preservative), both of which come with their own laundry list of side effects. Specifically, sodium benzoate has been shown to produce trace amounts of benzene - which is a known carcinogen. Furthermore, citric acid, artificial flavors, and artificial colors, including FD&C Blue #1, may be a cause for concern, especially hyperactive children, as it can worsen the condition. While these additives are only present in very small amounts, if you are living an additive-free life, you will want to avoid snow cone syrup that you don’t make yourself. Otherwise, we highly recommend eat snow cones only on special occasions. Real problems can definitely arise when snow cones become a part of your diet.

Possible short-term side effects

  • hyperactivity (especially children)
  • blood sugar spike
  • headache
  • nausea

Possible long-term side effects

  • diabetes
  • weight gain
  • increased triglyceride levels
  • increased cholesterol
  • metabolic syndrome
  • cancer

Ingredients to be aware of

Big are snow cones bad for you

Healthier alternatives

  • snow cone made with fresh fruit
  • snow cone with berry syrup
  • fresh fruit smoothie

Suggest improvement or correction to this article
Written by Jeff Volling | 12-29-2015

Written by Jeff Volling
Suggest improvement or correction

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